I wrote this article for Pulsars Gymnastics on March 12, 2019, and it was published on their website that same day. It’s part of a larger project we planned before the Covid-19 pandemic. We are happy to revisit it now.
I have edited it to fit this blog’s style.
I am not saying that sport begins and ends in gymnastics; I am simply saying that it starts here, with a critical approach to teaching complex skills.
Sport. What is it? How do we define it? It is a widely used term in most, if not all, modern languages: Deporte, in Spanish; Αθλημα (Athlima), in Greek; Urheilu, in Finish, all words with a universal connotation of movement, action and exercise. Words that are understood by those who use them.
We often refer to a particular activity as the “sport of”, as is the case with gymnastics or any other game deemed to be competitive. And whilst some of us may disagree with the definition of the term, we can all agree that it is a topic of importance, especially regarding our society’s health.
I wrote before that the benefit of sports on the mind and body of its practitioner is invaluable. Countless scientific studies conclude (beyond reasonable doubt) that physically active people are generally healthier than those who neglect exercising.
Arguing the definition and, by extension, the benefits of sports would take much longer than the several minutes you will spend reading this article. But I recommend that you indulge in that endeavour soon; it might help you see cooperative play [sports] in a clearer light.
With that task in mind, let’s ask ourselves a more challenging, objective question: where does sport start?
For now, I leave you with that and another critical question.
Really, let’s think about the essential parts of sports and what the activity of our choosing would require to be classified as a sport.
— Coach José